With time to reflect on my life choices, it seems obvious that this chimichanga was a bad idea. That I didn’t give myself the chance to stop sweating before I started cramming it’s crispy, gooey carcass into my gaping maw, compounded the mistake. This is not recovery food.
The chimichanga has an uncertain origin story, but what appears true is that Mexicans refuse to own this thing as a vestige of their rich culinary heritage. Someone in Arizona made this Franken-mess first, and Americans, loving whatever diabetes inducing, cheese-covered nonsense you slap on a plate, warmed to it immediately. Troublingly, the chimichanga comes in both dry and wet versions.
I had opted for wet.
As I type these words they seem more and more like a cry for help. I could imagine coming home tomorrow to a cadre of close friends posting up in the living room, waiting to talk to me about my nutritional abuse issues. Given how I feel in this moment, it might behoove me to give them a listen.
Maybe, though, just maybe you can relate to the parlous state of my reasoning capacity in the moment the guy behind the counter asked me what I wanted. I’d skipped breakfast, met up with the crew, and because I was feeling on my game, I went hard. The ride went on and on, and I never stopped chasing, like a dog on the bumper of a Sunday driver.
So I washed up at the half-rate taqueria with a sodden chamois and a pit in my stomach the size of a regulation volleyball. I needed calories, and I was high on endorphins and synthetic electrolytes. I combed the menu for something sizeable and also audacious.
By now you should know I’m a person who doesn’t mind making mistakes. I try to hang it out there. I give stupid room to breathe. I ask discretion to sit down quietly while courage has a go at the show. How will we stand in the rarified air of greatness, after all, if we don’t hurl ourselves into the void on occasion?
But you know what they say, “Live by the chimichanga, die by the chimichanga.”
The wet chimichanga. Salsa verde over the top. Carnitas inside. Guac and sour cream. A jot of rice. Some pico de gallo. Lovingly deep fried and served hot in a styrofoam tray with a plastic fork and five fewer napkins than any reasonable human might require.
Let’s run down the numbers. According to data presented by the United States Department of Agriculture, a typical 183-gram (6.5-ounce) serving of a beef and cheese chimichanga contains 443 calories, 20 grams protein, 39 grams carbohydrates, 23 grams total fat, 11 grams saturated fat, 51 milligrams cholesterol, and 957 milligrams of sodium. [Source].
There is no way this thing was just 6.5ozs. I don’t know which celestial plane serves a chimichanga that small, but here on Earth, you’re hard-pressed to find one under 10ozs. I’m not gonna do the math on the nutrition facts to super-size my digestive faux pas, but I think we can both see that a three-hour ride on an empty stomach colliding with a food stuff that resembles a building material is going to produce a disappointing result.
I should have noticed that I never stopped sweating, that my hunger had been replaced by fatigue, and that my riding companions were watching me with bemused looks. These are signs I ought to have at least tapped the brakes, that my tires would not hold the surface, everything sliding, at speed, out of control. Someone ought to have yelled, “HEADS UP!” Or forcibly removed the fork from hand.
I didn’t make it to the end of the chimichanga. What began as an internecine battle between me and calorie deficit, ended with me crying ‘uncle!’ spiritually, slumping forward in my chair, and hoping I’d not done as much damage as I feared. Spoiler alert: there was hell to pay (hell toupee’?).
I am not going to resort to toiler humor now (although I am not too good for that) but suffice it to say the rest of my day/evening was periodically and spasmodically occupied. Even the ride home was punctuated by emergency stops. You’ve been there. You get it.
I will close by saying, the chimichanga was very delicious, up to a point. I would do it again, despite the deleterious effects thereof. I’m a grown adult person, and I accept that there are times for a chimichanga and there are not times for a chimichanga. It is not the fried burrito’s fault that I don’t know the difference.
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